Joseph C Cleveland Jr

Joseph C Cleveland Jr

Associate Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery

Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO

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Personal History

Dr Joseph Cornelius Cleveland, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a Thoracic and Cardiac Surgeon and an Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, Aurora, CO. Dr Cleveland has a wife and two sons. His other interests are golf and travel.1


Academic History

Dr Cleveland obtained his BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern California in 1987 and his M.D. with High Honors from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1991. At the University of Colorado, he did his Internship in 1992, Residencies in Surgery in 1998 and Fellowships in Thoracic and Cardiac in 2001.1, 2

His research interests include the effects of aging on heart surgery, the evaluation of left ventricular assist devices as a bridge to heart transplantation and also for the treatment of advanced heart failure.1


Career Overview

Dr Cleveland is an Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, an Associate Director of the Thoracic Surgery Residency Program, and Surgical Director of Adult Cardiac Transplantation/Mechanical Cardiac Assist Devices at the University of Colorado. 

He is also Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgical Service at the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center and a Member of the Western Thoracic Surgical Association and many other professional organisations.2

His clinical interests include heart valve surgery with expertise in mitral valve repair and aortic valve pathology, Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD), coronary artery bypass grafting surgery and heart and lung transplantation. He is the surgical director of the VAD program and the heart transplant program at the University of Colorado.1

Dr Cleveland serves on numerous national committees through the Society of Thoracic Surgeons which seek to improve the quality of care to cardiac surgery patients. He also provides shadowing opportunities to high school and college pre-med students.1


Career Timeline

  • 2002 - 2003: Director, Thoracic Surgery, Residency Program, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center 
  • 2001- 2005: Assistant Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center
  • 2001 - Present: Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgical Service, Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center 
  • 2002 - Present: Surgical Director, Adult Cardiac Transplantation/Mechanical Cardiac Assist Devices, University of Colorado 
  • 2003 - Present: Associate Director, Thoracic Surgery Residency Program, University of Colorado 
  • 2005 - Present: Associate Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center


Areas of Speciality

  • Thoracic and Cardiac Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Ventricular Assist Devices 



  • 2001 - Clifford Van Meter President’s Award, Southern Thoracic Surgical Assoc.
  • 2003 - Outstanding Clinical Teacher elected by the 3rd Year Medical Students
  • 2004 - President’s Award for Leadership - Elected honor by the Medical Staff of The University of Colorado Hospital 
  • 2007- Professionalism Award. Recipient of the First Annual School of Medicine Faculty Senate Award UCDHSC
  • 2009 - Co-recipient of the 5th Annual Dwight McGoon National Teaching Award Presented at the AATS Boston, MA
  • 2010, 2011 - Recognised by 5280: Denver’s Mile High Magazine as one of Denver’s Top Doctors
  • 2011 - President's Award for World Class Care, Recipient
  • 2012 - ACC Fellow
  • 2013 - ACS Fellow
  • 2015 - University of Colorado Hospital Outstanding Full Time Physician, University of Colorado Hospital
  • Castle Connolly Regional Top Doctors: 1st Edition




Articles by Joseph C Cleveland Jr, Associate Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery

Heart Transplant and Ventricular Assist: Cardiac Surgery and Heart Failure Perspective

Michael T Cain, Michael S Firstenberg, Joseph C Cleveland Jr, et al


Citation: US Cardiology Review 2021;15:e16.